The Freelance Mentalists.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Some Albums Are the Very Newest Orleans Available

Little Georgie and the Shuffling Hungarians, Roll Up the Rugs and Crank It: Live from Styleen's Rhythm Palace, Syracuse, NY (Queen Bee Brand Records), 1996

Reasons for bad people to hate this record:

1 There are eleven musicians in this band.
2 They play New Orleans-influenced blues and blues-influenced funk and funk-influenced r&b and r&b-influenced spirituals and spiritual-influenced rock and rock-influenced prog and prog-influenced New Orleans music. It is a live album.
3 It is a long album: "Over 2 hours of music on 2 CDs!" It features a long-haired stand-up piano player with a major Dr. John/Bruce Springsteen fixation.
4 The bass player's nickname is "Big Daddy," and he gets to solo.
5 One of the songs here is "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Reasons I love this record:

1 I found it in all its two-disc glory for $1.00 at the Frugal Muse Annex.
2 The band is split into three sections: "The Mighty Men" (guitar bass drums percussion), "The George-O-Lettes" (three background singers), and "The Hungarian Horns" (sax sax brass).
3 George Rossi, the "Little Georgie" of the band's name, has a whole bunch of soul for a jheri-curled white dude.
4 Styleen's is located in Syracuse New York, which apparently is nicknamed "Salt City" for some undoubtedly awesome reason.
5 There are covers of "Thank U Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin" and "Low Rider" and "Jim Dandy" and "Come Together" (Beatles version) and "Hey Pocky Way" and "Let's Go Get Stoned" and Allen Toussaint's "Hang Tough."
6 It begins with some creepy deepy voice going "You really must try...the sweet potato pie..."
7 At the end of "Gutbucket," trumpet player Jeff "Love God" Stockman quotes "Rhapsody in Blue" during the group riffage.
8 There is some HARDCORE GOSPEL HEAVEN on the original number "(Working on My) Addictions," which gets a free pass for the parenthetical title thing alone, but which is really a slow-burn slowdance blues piece. Hey come on, blues people gotta slowdance too.
9 Mick Walker's frightful heavy-metal look and skillful metal guitar runs.
10 Rossi's pronunciation of "Brassy Bessy" as "Brawsih Bahseye" while the George-O-Lettes show him up by pronouncing it correctly. Later in the song it sounds like someone's put on a Chuck Mangione record. But they haven't.
11 The close of Disc One (called "Chance," Disc Two is called "Desire," no idea what that means) features The Single Greatest Prog-Blues Song Ever. It's called "Ballade of Little Georgie," and it's kind of a voodoo beatnik "St. James Infirmary" with lots of interweaving of other stuff, like jump blues and Tom Waits interjections (Satan's vacuum cleaner sucking yr toes?) and...oh man, I'm gonna have to give this its own review someday. It's almost 13 minutes long.
12 "Tear It Down" sounds like "Gimme Three Steps" by T.Rex.
13 "You Like It" sounds like Boz Scaggs giving a deposition in a Southern Baptist church, sexy and God-haunted and angry. Except he's really talking about sneaking up behind someone and hitting her/him with a shoe and biting her/his lips until they bleed. This love object has some serious freaking problems and it unnerves him, he's not in favor of all this masochism, but what can he do? That's the way uh huh uh huh.
14 The cover of "Low Rider" links that song explicitly to "Come On Ride the Train" by Quad City DJs. Tell me that ain't genius.

So the good points outweigh the bad, obviously, and I haven't even pulled out the biggest pro- yet: None of you have heard it, or ever will probably. So I can claim Best Album Ever status on it and you can't say me nay. TOTAL CRITICAL BEATDOWN.
syracuse is called the salt city bc the banks of the onondaga lake were coated in salt...the indians used to get it from there, as well as early settlers untill the factories polluted the thing to hell...i'm a syracuse native...and yeah i've been to styleens
I came upon this recently...who ever is the author, this is the funniest stuff I've read in awhile, made cooler by the fact that I didn't have to beat anyone over the head to write about the band, let alone tell the truth as succinctly as you did...come find me sometime on myspace (George Rossi)
Hey George, glad you liked it. The author is either Matt Cibula or Scott Seward, checkum out all over the Wuh Wuh Wuh!
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